Where the “Rush Effect” hits hardest: broadcast unions

By on Mar, 9 2012 with Comments 2

Rush LimbaughNews Analysis: We’re in a very delicate economic recovery (some say what recovery?). Gas is hitting $5.00 a gallon.  Bottom line, what Rush did was deplorable. We all know that. He apologized. But MoveOn.org and Media Matters are trying to bring him down a la Don Imus. What happened to Imus? He got a fantastic exit package from CBS; he ended up on morning drive on ABC and now he has done wonders for The Fox Business Network.

While they’re trying to bring down Rush, it’s never going to happen. His audience loves him. His clients are direct response advertisers—not traditional advertisers. The clients with him don’t care about CPMs or CPPs. Meanwhile, MoveOn and Media Matters are “Twitter bombing” JC Penney, O’Reilly’s, AutoZone, Sears, Netflix, TurboTax. Most of these companies and their media agencies have never been in Rush Limbaugh, have never bought Limbaugh and have never planned for the show. As a matter of fact, they’ve got very strong dictates not to run in his show, or most other talkers.

What sources are telling us is non-Rush advertisers usually placed into network radio news—ABC, AP News, CBS, CNN and FOX–are being spooked into staying away from top-of-the hour in general. This, just because their ads may run a few minutes before Rush comes back on the air.

These top-of-the-hour newscasts and news feeds do a great service for the country, and they’re not attached, included or involved with Rush. These also have no economic involvement with his show. We’ve heard that the broadcast and entertainment unions are concerned with how this all will impact radio on a local level if all of these companies are being spooked into staying away from radio. Media Matters and MoveOn may not realize this. Bottom line, the Twitter bombing is hurting the broadcast companies and the jobs that they create.

It’s also creating tremendous confusion for the media agencies. They’re doing damage control right now, rather than planning and placing buys in radio. They’ve already put the safeguards in place for their clients and now all of this is being challenged. It’s even affecting PSA advertisers, we are told.

The irony is the people MoveOn and Media Matters often tries to help—the 10,000 union members in radio, women, their rank and file, etc—is not helping them by killing their livelihood in this medium. Meanwhile, Rush is going to “Move on.” Rush doesn’t care. The show will continue regardless. He’s made it through imitating the Chinese president, Obama clashes, the McNabb racial incident and his Oxycontin episode.

Media Matters and Move On should challenge Rush with debates, not attack radio advertisers that have nothing to do with him.

The major unions in radio are:

AFTRA – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (soon to merge with SAG – Screen Actors Guild and be called SAG-AFTRA). These are mostly on air performers but also includes some off air producers.

IBEW – International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Part of CWA. Radio Engineers.

NABET – National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians. Includes radio producers and engineers.

Writers Guild – includes radio writers.

News Media Guild – formerly Wire Service Guild. Mostly AP employees.

About The Author: Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.

  1. John Rosso Says:

    Carl,

    You are dead on with this analysis. Most of the pain will be taken by network programs that have nothing to do with Rush.

    What Rush said was wrong…but the wrong people are being punished.

    John

  2. The sponsors Rush is losing appear to be going to other stations. At least in the NY Metro market. So the ‘hurting broadcast unions’ stuff doesn’t hold up.





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